Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Half of Cambodia for Sale

May 06, 2008 10:19 AM
by findingDulcinea Staff
by findingDulcinea staff
A surge in land speculation has resulted in the sale of 45 percent of the country’s landmass, and more than 150,000 Cambodians are facing eviction as a result.

30-Second Summary

Recent domestic and foreign investment has caused land prices in the impoverished country to skyrocket, and has resulted in scores of forced evictions from coastal cities to urban slums, reports Britain’s The Guardian.

The Cambodian real estate market has suddenly become a haven for investors troubled by the effect of the sub-prime crisis on U.S. and European financial markets. Critics blame the Cambodian government for unlawful dealing and lax regulation of investors and land developers.

“[Prime Minister] Hun Sen and his ruling Cambodian People’s Party have, in effect, put the country up for sale,” writes Adrian Levy and Cathy Scott-Clark in the Guardian report.

Amnesty International has criticized Cambodian authorities for failing to protect victims of illegal evictions. The organization also accuses authorities of threatening and intimidating land rights activists. “It is becoming the practice of developers that if they want a piece of land and they are prepared to disregard the rules and procedures laid down they can do it,” said Brittis Edman, an AI researcher.

Inter Press Service reports that the Cambodian government denies that forced evictions occur.

Cambodia’s real estate market began heating up in 2002, when increased scrutiny by international banks after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 led domestic business interests to spend more money at home.

Headline Link: ‘Country for Sale’

Background: ‘Slum evictions highlight dark side of Cambodia’s building boom’

Reference: ‘Cambodia: Making the Poor Homeless’


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